Village signs of Suffolk
The tradition of village signs is believed to have started in Norfolk early in the 20th century when Edward VII suggested that village signs would aid motorists and give a feature of interest on the Sandringham Estate.
The interest soon spread beyond Norfolk can be attributed to Prince Albert, Duke of York (later George VI) who gave a speech to the Royal Academy in 1920 promoting the wider use of village identity signs. The Daily Mail ran a nationwide village sign competition. The prize fund exceeded £2,000 and ten awards were made. The winning schemes were exhibited at Australia House, London in October 1920.
In 1929, Harry Carter, an art and woodwork master at Hamonds Grammar School (which now serves as the sixth form buildings for Hamond's high school in Swaffham), carved a sign for his home town. By the time of his death in 1983 he had carved over 200 town and village signs.
While the practice is now widespread, decorative village signs are particularly common in Norfolk and Suffolk as well other East Anglian counties. Some village signs take the form of sculptures, such as the one at Capel St Andrew, which is constructed entirely from scrap metal.
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